BAGHDAD, Jan. 12 (Xinhua) -- The Iraqi authorities decided Wednesday to ramp up health restrictions on arriving travelers and all domestic institutions amid the spread of the Omicron COVID-19 variant globally.
The Higher Committee for Health and National Safety decided that all Iraqi and foreign travelers who enter the country must present a COVID-19 vaccination card to prove the holder had received at least two doses of COVID-19 vaccine, and a negative nucleic acid test result conducted within 72 hours, said a statement by Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi's media office.
All Iraqi governmental and non-governmental institutions should follow up their employees' vaccination process and prevent any citizen who comes without a vaccination card to enter their facilities, it said.
The decision was made during a committee meeting chaired by al-Kadhimi on the country's epidemiological situation in light of a global case surge with the rapid spread of the Omicron variant.
Iraq reported its first cases of Omicron variant on Jan. 6. As of Wednesday, 2,037 new cases and five more deaths were reported countrywide, bringing the respective tally to 2,102,555 and 24,225, according to the health ministry.
Meanwhile, 68,465 people in the country were vaccinated against COVID-19, bringing the total of administered doses to 8,770,184, it said.